STRIKER Daryl Clare rejoined Boston United yesterday for an undisclosed fee to end weeks of speculation about his future at Chester City.
Twice a Conference Golden Boot winner, Clare played a major role in getting Chester promoted last season with 29 goals, but he was unable to gain a regular place in the starting line-up in League Two following a pre-season injury.
City boss Ian Rush insisted Chester was a loser in the deal. 'Carlisle made an offer which was more than Boston's, but Daryl wanted to move to be closer to the family home,' he said. 'I like Daryl and we have always got on well. We have parted on friendly terms.'
Carlisle had agreed terms with Chester for the striker but Clare made no secret of the fact he wanted to move nearer to the east coast where he has had a house built.
Boston, who sold him to Chester for around £95,000, moved in with an offer on Wednesday - which was Carlisle's deadline for being given a decision by Clare.
Anticipating Clare's departure, Rush, whose offers for Wrexham players Hector Sam and Stephen Roberts were rejected last week, has been searching for a replacement in time for tonight's game at Northampton with Michael Branch still at least a couple of weeks away from recovery.
But yesterday he had virtually resigned himself to being without a new face for the game at the Sixfields Stadium. 'It is important to concentrate properly on the Northampton game, so I didn't want to be distracted by looking for new players,' he said.
'We have a free week next week so that will give me more time to look around. It is difficult because we are still in two cup competitions and there is a possibility anyone we are interested in could be cup-tied.'
Rush hinted there could be more than the one change tonight from the team which beat Stafford Rangers in the first round of the FA Cup last Saturday, to earn a trip to Halifax Town on December 4.
'Northampton are a very good team and this will be a big test for us,' he said. 'They have an excellent home record with just one defeat and this could be a game when my team is based on the opposition.
'We have done well so far but we need to freshen things up a bit and push on.'
Chester have parted company with director of football Ray Matthias, who was in temporary charge following the departure of Mark Wright on the eve of the season.
'This was a management decision and we would like to thank Ray for all his efforts for us,' said chief executive Dave Burford.
Tickets go on sale from 10am to 3pm today for the LDV Vans Trophy match against Wrexham on November 30. Only cash will be accepted and tickets will be sold at the rate of one per person. Some form of identification must be shown, preferably a driving licence or utility bill.
Chester beat Whitley Bay 3-1 in the FA Youth Cup last Thursday and go to Blackpool in the second round on Tuesday (7pm).
Chester reserves are at home to Bury on Wednesday (2pm) in a Pontin's Holidays League match.